The Descent of Man
By Kevin Desinger
(Unbridled Books, Hardcover, 9781609530433, 260pp.)
Publication Date: May 2011
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One night Jim, a quiet wine steward, wakes to find two men trying to steal his car. Against the petitions of his wife, he goes outside to get the plate number of the thieves’ truck. Instead, something comes over him and he drives away in their truck until he recovers his wits and realizes what he’s done. When Jim learns that the two would-be thieves are brothers with a history of violence, he soon finds himself over his head in a mire of sinister events and must risk everything to regain what he can of his life before that night.
There are books that you can’t put down, and there are books that won’t go away even after you put them down, the force of their moral conundrums haunting the stories of our own lives. The Descent of Man is a spectacular showcase for both literary virtuesthe riveting tale of a modest but perfect life under assault, and a resonating challenge to our own self-knowledge, the authenticity of that knowledge, which can only be confirmed through crisis.
Who are we when push comes to shove? What are we capable of? Do we have the fortitude to save ourselves from the bad things in the world, and the backbonethe strength of mind and spiritto protect those we love from harm? Kevin Desinger confronts us with these questions in the steady, quiet voice of Everyman, a decent guy sitting in a parlor chair, calmly narrating a firestorm that’s consuming his house and family. He has written a novel that is flawless, masterful, unforgettable, and chilling in its dramatization of the way we live in fragile grace each day in America, our blessings balanced on the edge of violence and loss.” Bob Shacochis